Sunday, December 23, 2012

Talking To The Mystery Train

Last month, Thomas Melin released a new book, The Elvis Today Blog: Volume 2. Available from Blurb, the paperback compiles 230 more Elvis Today Blog posts. It also features a foreword by Michael Jarrett, writer of “I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day” and “I’m Leavin’”, as well as a previously unreleased interview with DJ Fontana, Elvis’ first drummer. Melin recently took the time to chat about Elvis and the 328-page volume.

So begins a post by Troy Y. over at The Mystery Train Blog published a couple of days ago, on December 19. In it, I talk about why I am an Elvis fan, what my favorite post in the book is, the circumstances of my interview with DJ Fontana (featured as a bonus post in the book) and the story behind songwriter Michael Jarrett writing the foreword. Among other things. 

"The Elvis Today Blog Volume 2 author talks to The Mystery Train"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Lots of standing and screaming”

One of the benefits from running an Elvis blog is that you get to hear from people who have their very own Elvis experiences. And sometimes those experiences can blow you away. Just the other week Mrs. Barbara Schoenburg e-mailed me about the FTD book A Moment In Time–4 Days in ’56, telling me she was at the Detroit concert on May 25, 1956, in the second row, middle.

The book includes some fantastic shots of Elvis driving the crowd wild at the Fox Theater in Detroit on that date (one of which was used on the cover of the Young Man With The Big Beat box set). So, firing away an e-mail in return, I asked Barbara if she would like to answer a couple of questions about her experiences that day. Imagine my excitement when I found her answers waiting for me in the mail the very next day. She began by telling me that she was in the picture on page 15 (the one from Young Man With The Big Beat). 

Barbara: I was 12 at the time. If you look at Elvis' right knee cap there is a girl and I am directly behind her, in front of the girl with the black shirt. Sorry to say I started losing interest in Elvis when he went into the army. I still have the early albums though. After that I never really was into his music.

Elvis Today: How come you went to the show?

Barbara: I loved Elvis' sound and thought he was so good looking, I collected magazines and stuff. All of which I threw out along the way to adulthood. Stupid me.

Elvis Today: What do you remember the most about Elvis’ performance?

Barbara: Just that I loved it. I was the only one of my friends that liked him so I went to the show alone. He was so good looking and moved in a way that I had never seen before. I remember screaming and wishing everyone would sit down so we could all see. I was short and it bothered me that people stood so I had trouble seeing some of the show. I do not remember any other acts. I do remember seeing him on the Ed Sullivan show and screaming as I watched and my grandmother demanding that I stop and arguing with her about turning off the TV. I won. I do not remember anything else about it.

Elvis Today: How did the crowd (yourself included) react when Elvis sang and moved?

Barbara: Lots of standing and screaming.

Elvis Today: Do you remember any particular song he sang?

Barbara: I do remember he sang Heartbreak Hotel which had been released just a few months previously. My husband and all his friends are impressed that I got to see him with his original band, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana. I only had eyes for Elvis.

Elvis Today: Did you ever see Elvis live again?

Barbara: I saw him in April 1973 or November 1976 at the Anaheim CA Convention Center. He was into what I called the Liberace phase with the jump suits, and scarves. He had put on a lot of weight. He sounded good but it was not the same as seeing him for the first time. 

Thank you so much for your answers, Barbara, and for letting me share them with my readers!